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Top 10 Restaurants in Spring Branch

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7. Tacos del Julio

There are several locations of this Houston-only chain scattered around town, but the Long Point location is a favorite for the always cheerful service. The restaurant is best known for its tacos de trompo -- the Monterrey version of al pastor -- served on fresh corn tortillas, but branch out a bit and try the bright and clean-tasting enchiladas del Julio or the chicken-and-avocado-filled caldo Tlalpeño. No gooey, cheesy Tex-Mex here, just simple northern Mexican food in a pleasant setting.

6. Pho Huy

This is proof positive that you can get amazing pho outside Chinatown and outside the Pho Binh trailer on Mangum. The pho broth is a dark, rich mahogany color and -- especially if you order the pho tai nam gau gan sach bo vien -- comes absolutely filled with plenty of meat and noodles. No skimping here. Bun thit nuong is equally good, as is the addictive Vietnamese iced coffee. Apparently, Pho Huy also feels that their coffee is unparalleled; bright yellow posters in several areas of the restaurant command customers: "YOU TRY IT!" and "YOU LIKE IT!"

5. Super H Mart

Can't pick just one Korean cuisine to eat for lunch? Head to the food court at Super H Mart, where you can indulge in everything from Korean fried chicken at Toreore to bibimbap and bulgogi. Freshly baked pastries are available for dessert at Tous Les Jours and -- if you aren't too full to do more than waddle out afterwards -- you can even get your grocery shopping done while you're there.

4. El Hidalguense

You can feed an army with a whole roasted baby goat or spend a reflective lunch over some enchiladas at El Hidalguense; it's your call at the cozy, family-run restaurant on Long Point that shares strip center space with another favorite, Vieng Thai. Either way, you win because the food here is consistently wonderful. The restaurant's twin specialties are barbacoa de borrego estilo Hidalgo, which is Hidalgo-style lamb cooked in maguey leaves, and chivito asado al pastor, whole goat roasted over an open charcoal pit right there in the restaurant. In the evenings, El Hidalguense is filled with expats from Hidalgo and a live mariachi band playing Huatecan music you can't resist dancing to.

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Katharine Shilcutt